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154374 - People v Edward Pinkney

The People of the State of Michigan,
 
Aaron J. Mead
 
Plaintiff-Appellee,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Berrien – Schrock, S.)
 
Edward Pinkney,
 
Timothy M. Holloway
 
Defendant-Appellant.
 

Summary

In 2014, defendant Edward Pinkney was part of an effort to recall the then-mayor of Benton Harbor. On January 3, 2014, defendant signed a certificate attesting to the validity of the signatures on the recall petitions that he had circulated. He and the sponsor of the recall submitted the petitions to the county clerk on January 8, 2014. The mayor challenged the validity of some of the signature dates on the petitions, and a forensic analysis revealed that some of the signature dates certified by defendant had been altered to fall within the 60-day validity period. MCL 168.961(2)(d). Defendant was charged with multiple counts of felony election forgery, MCL 168.937, and misdemeanor making a false statement in a certificate of a recall petition, MCL 168.957. A jury acquitted him of the misdemeanor charges but convicted him of the felony charges. The Court of Appeals affirmed in a published decision. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address: (1) whether the trial
court abused its discretion when it admitted other-acts evidence under MRE 404(b) of defendant’s unrelated political and community activities for the purpose of demonstrating a motive to commit the crimes; and (2) whether the Court of Appeals erred in determining that MCL 168.937 creates the substantive offense of election forgery and is not merely a penalty provision for the specific forgery offenses set forth in other provisions of Michigan election law.